With the 2022 FIFA World Cup coming to a conclusion, Barcelona are gearing up for the season restart, as they take on Espanyol in the Catalan derby on December 31.
However, the Blaugrana may not have a full-strength squad as a host of their star players are enjoying a mid-season vacation due to the World Cup. That list includes the likes of Ousmane Dembele and Jules Kounde, both of whom participated in the final against Argentina.
But as per a report from SPORT, Barcelona received a boost as Frenkie de Jong decided to cut his vacation short, in favour of a return to Ciutat Esportiva. The midfielder returned to training for Barça on Tuesday as he wishes to be available for the upcoming derby game against Espanyol.
De Jong played a crucial role for the Netherlands team that reached the quarter-final stage of the tournament. He was involved in all five matches, with his leadership becoming useful in Holland’s second line of press.
Although the Oranje were knocked out of the competition by eventual champions Argentina, de Jong showed excellent character with his performances. It was a testament to his performances for Barcelona during the first half of the season
De Jong’s return, therefore, could serve as a massive boost for Barcelona as they look to restart the season on a positive note.
The Dutchman can add balance and experience in the middle of the park, offering more composure in Barça’s second line of press. However, given his participation in the World Cup, it remains to be seen whether or not the midfielder can make himself available for the Espanyol game.
As for the other quarter-final departees, Memphis Depay and Raphinha, they are expected to join with the rest of the squad later today